24 Oct 2014 03:57pm

Over 50% of women in finance are bullied

More than 50% of women in finance say they have experienced bullying in the last three years, according to figures from Opportunity Now, the gender equality arm of the Business in the Community (BITC) charity

In a follow-up report from its groundbreaking Project 28-40 report – which reported 64% of women across wider employment saying they had experienced bullying or harassment – Opportunity Now’s finance sector insight shows 52% of women in finance have been bullied or harassed at work.

Additionally, 12% of women also reported they had experienced sexual harassment at work in the same time frame. Much of this, Opportunity Now says, is unreported.

In the earlier Project 28-40 report, which took findings from 25,000 women, 43% agreed that men and women at the same level earned the same salary, but this dropped to just 30% in the finance sector.

Women in finance are also more likely to think there are fewer role models in their workplace, with 57% agreeing with this, rather than the 53% across wider employment.

Similarly, 60% of women in finance also think you have to be “extra special” to succeed in your career as a woman, compared to 57% in other employment.

Recommendations put forward by Opportunity Now include conducting equal pay audits and ensuring that company bosses are visible in leading the fight against inappropriate sexist and misogynistic behavior.

Liz Bingham, EY’s UK and Ireland managing partner for talent, said that cultural change was necessary to improve women’s experience in finance roles, and in managing talent.

Bingham said, “Diversity needs constant, close attention for any sustainable change to take place. It needs to be on the board’s agenda on a daily basis, rather than once in a blue moon on International Women’s Day.

“Cultural change inevitably takes time, but setting targets with teeth and being accountable for those targets helps keep the agenda front of mind.”

Bingham also recommended that businesses go to great lengths to recognise and celebrate role models, saying good role models can have a “transformational impact” on both individuals and teams.

“One of the most powerful steps that any organisation or individual can take is to recognise and celebrate role models,” she said. “Role models inspire, motivate and prove that barriers can be over-come.

“From my own experience I have seen how good role models can have a transformational impact on an individual or team. We all have skills, attributes or experiences that would be valuable to share with others.”

Oliver Griffin


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